Carrie Sharples

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Carrie Sharples is a fictional character in the television series Alice. She was played, in typically loud-mouthed fashion, by the late Martha Raye.

Mel's boisterous mother[edit]

Carrie, at first, a semi-regular, often blew unannounced into Phoenix, Arizona to see her son, Mel Sharples whom she often called "Chubby". When she came in, she was always bound to be loud, and boisterous.

Carrie got along well with most of the waitresses, most especially Vera Louise Gorman, and Alice Hyatt. As she was from New York City, she had a close bond with New Jersey born and bred Alice whom she affectionately called "you little dickens!" She also got along great with Alice's son, Tommy Hyatt. In fact, she once stayed with Alice and Tommy in their apartment.

Carrie was a whiz at cooking, unlike her son, whose cooking skills left quite a lot to be desired (his pancakes were considered great for roof shingles; {Lisa Douglas from Green Acres also made inedible pancakes} his brownies tasted like asphalt, etc.), and when she took over the stove at Mel's, business was excellent. However, the selfish, greedy and extremely chauvinistic Mel would often cut down his mother's attempts, and on several occasions drove her to the competition, mostly Barney's Burger Barn or Benny's Beanery.

During the episode Carrie Chickens Out, she made chicken pot pies for a special at Mel's and he got mad and threw her out; effectively driving his mother to Benny's Beanery. When he saw Alice, Belle and Vera eating some of her chicken pies, he outright denounced all of them, saying that he hated his mother's chicken pies, and he also hated the people who ate them; and went off sulking to the diner which he almost sold. It took the waitresses and his mother to convince him to not sell out.

More often than not, however, she would relent her rash decision and return to Mel, usually not without him eating a lot of crow, because she really did love her son, and blood was thicker than water. Although at times, he would exploit his mother and her wonderful cooking to rake in the money at the Diner.

She was married to a considerably younger man, named Robby (Howard Witt), and obviously was not happy, since she did divorce him. Mel made quite a fuss when she announced the engagement: Robby was younger than Mel! (This was somewhat mirrored in real life by Martha Rayes marriage just before her death to a man over thirty years her junior)

In the episode, Carrie Sings the Blues, Carrie battled her depression by making pies, which caused Mel to exploit that talent, for the business. However, when Mel kept the secret that Robby had called, Carrie got mad at him, smashed a pie in her son's face, and was truly despondent. Vera was furious with him, scraping her fingers at him and saying Shame, shame, shame, and Belle disinvited Mel to her housewarming party as punishment for withholding that information from Carrie.

In another episode, Sharples vs. Sharples Mel was angered when Carrie had composed a cook book which included his chili recipe. Mel demanded that she remove the chili recipe, but Carrie just as vehemently refused, stating that the recipe was hers, whilst Mel demanded that it was his! This set the stage of a semi-feud between mother and son.

Carrie and the waitresses tried to recover the book, (she had a key to his apartment, which Mel had conveniently forgotten about) but the selfish Mel had Alice, Jolene, Vera and his own mother arrested for breaking and entering. Mel smugly stated that he had never seen them before in his life! (During their incarceration, Carrie and the others met a woman named "Broadway Betty" who played the song "Lullaby of Broadway" which all the women, including the women in the next cell participated) Mel came along and attempted a half-hearted bargain with his mother, that if she removed the chili recipe, he would drop the charges against them. However, his scheme eventually backfired on him. Whilst Carrie was being booked, she swore out a warrant for his arrest on possession of stolen property (the stolen property was said recipe book!). Their bail money came through, and Carrie and the others were freed by the bailiff Imogene (Edie McClurg); but Mel was locked up for ten minutes until they were gone from the jail, then Mel was freed himself. After the book was published, to placate Mel, she decided to remove the chili recipe, even though it was still hers, hers, hers!. Upon hearing that, Mel forgave his mother.

Despite that dustup, in a subsequent episode called My Mother The Landlord, Carrie bought Mel's apartment building, and demanded that he pay $250 in rent. When he refused, she evicted him, and then he took up residence in Alice's apartment. Alice discovered Mel, to her consternation, when she and Tommy returned from a family wedding in New Jersey. Alice helped smooth over the troubles when she suggested that Carrie hire Mel to be the building manager, and this way, he would be able to live in his apartment, rent free.